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Oil Futures Prices in a Production Economy With Investment Constraints


  • Leonid Kogan
  • Dmitry Livdan
  • Amir Yaron


We document a new stylized fact regarding the term-structure of futures volatility. We show that the relationship between the volatility of futures prices and the slope of the term structure of prices is non-monotone and has a "V-shape". This aspect of the data cannot be generated by basic models that emphasize storage while this fact is consistent with models that emphasize investment constraints or, more generally, time-varying supply-elasticity. We develop an equilibrium model in which futures prices are determined endogenously in a production economy in which investment is both irreversible and is capacity constrained. Investment constraints affect firms' investment decisions, which in turn determine the dynamic properties of their output and consequently imply that the supply-elasticity of the commodity changes over time. Since demand shocks must be absorbed either by changes in prices, or by changes in supply, time-varying supply-elasticity results in time-varying volatility of futures prices. Estimating this model, we show it is quantitatively consistent with the aforementioned "V-shape" relationship between the volatility of futures prices and the slope of the term-structure.

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  • Leonid Kogan & Dmitry Livdan & Amir Yaron, 2008. "Oil Futures Prices in a Production Economy With Investment Constraints," Working Papers 0803, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mee:wpaper:0803

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    2. Han, Yufeng & Hu, Ting & Yang, Jian, 2016. "Are there exploitable trends in commodity futures prices?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 214-234.
    3. Peter Christoffersen & Xuhui (Nick) Pan, 2014. "Oil Volatility Risk and Expected Stock Returns," CREATES Research Papers 2015-06, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    4. Haugom, Erik & Langeland, Henrik & Molnár, Peter & Westgaard, Sjur, 2014. "Forecasting volatility of the U.S. oil market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-14.
    5. Shi, Jing & Xu, Tracy, 2013. "Price and volatility dynamics between securitized real estate spot and futures markets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 582-592.
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    7. Symeonidis, Lazaros & Prokopczuk, Marcel & Brooks, Chris & Lazar, Emese, 2012. "Futures basis, inventory and commodity price volatility: An empirical analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2651-2663.
    8. Ing-Haw Cheng & Wei Xiong, 2014. "Financialization of Commodity Markets," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 419-441, December.
    9. Nicolas Merener, 2012. "Globally Distributed Production and Asset Pricing:the Rise of Latin America in CME Soybean Futures," Business School Working Papers 2012-01, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    10. Oglend, Atle & Kleppe, Tore Selland, 2017. "On the behavior of commodity prices when speculative storage is bounded," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 52-69.
    11. Yang, Fan, 2013. "Investment shocks and the commodity basis spread," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 164-184.
    12. Chatrath, Arjun & Miao, Hong & Ramchander, Sanjay & Wang, Tianyang, 2016. "An examination of the flow characteristics of crude oil: Evidence from risk-neutral moments," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 213-223.
    13. Secomandi, Nicola & Seppi, Duane J., 2014. "Real Options and Merchant Operations of Energy and Other Commodities," Foundations and Trends(R) in Technology, Information and Operations Management, now publishers, vol. 6(3-4), pages 161-331, July.
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    15. Fink, Jason D. & Fink, Kristin E. & Russell, Allison, 2010. "When and how do tropical storms affect markets? The case of refined petroleum," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1283-1290, November.
    16. Chang, Kuang-Liang, 2012. "Volatility regimes, asymmetric basis effects and forecasting performance: An empirical investigation of the WTI crude oil futures market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 294-306.
    17. Ramos, Sofía B. & Veiga, Helena, 2010. "Asymmetric effects of oil price fluctuations in international stock markets," DES - Working Papers. Statistics and Econometrics. WS ws100904, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Estadística.
    18. Alizadeh, Amir H. & Tamvakis, Michael, 2016. "Market conditions, trader types and price–volume relation in energy futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 134-149.
    19. Casassus, Jaime & Ceballos, Diego & Higuera, Freddy, 2010. "Correlation structure between inflation and oil futures returns: An equilibrium approach," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 301-310, December.
    20. Delphine Lautier & Franck Raynaud, 2014. "Information Flows in the term structure of commodity prices," Post-Print hal-01655842, HAL.

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